I thought there was only one canal in Co Kerry, but there were three more at Lixnaw. They’re still to be seen and they have interesting associations.
Thanks to Ewan Duffy of Industrial Heritage Ireland for the tip-off.
More than 25,000 barges were being used on Britain’s inland waterways in the middle decades of the nineteenth century.
Philip S Bagwell The Transport Revolution from 1770 B T Batsford Ltd, London 1974
I wonder what the figure for Ireland was. My guess is that, including small turf boats and cots, it was probably less than one tenth of the British figure.
About six weeks since, a most daring act of piracy and murder was supposed to have been committed in Mr Parker’s turf-boat, which was lying at anchor near Ahanish, in this river. Tuesday, in consequence of private information, a search was made on one of the islands convenient to where the vessel lay at the time of the piracy, where the three unfortunate men who composed the crew of said boat were discovered in a pit, with their throats cut from ear to ear, their heads and bodies much lacerated, and a large rope bracing them together. The anchor, cables, and parts of the rigging, were found secreted in another part of the island.
Evening Mail 29 May 1818. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.
At an early hour yesterday morning, in consequence of a dispute between the people belonging to some of the turf boats on the Grand Canal, two young men, citizens, and one of a couple of the military who went to their assistance from the Canal Guard, were murdered, having been thrown into the Canal. Several persons have been taken up and committed to prison.
Saunders’s News-Letter 15 May 1804. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.
Limerick, Dec 1
On Thursday night, or at a very early hour on Friday morning, the most awful and terrific tempest from the south and west, that ever was remembered arose, and continued without intermission until between 11 and 12 o’clock yesterday — the river Shannon swelled to an unprecedented height, with a surf which caused it to overflow the country to an extent never before witnessed; there was no trace of the highest banks upon the river, and they are broken and prostrate every where we have as yet heard of — at the quays in this harbour, the several vessels drove from their moorings, and a large Norway ship, the Pax, a brig, the Caroline, and a sloop, the Elizabeth, were forced beyond Curragour Mills, near Thomond bridge, and with much exertion were saved from injury, by Mess Mallock and Graham, ship builders, with their men — the Messery, of Liverpool, at O’Neil’s quay, laden with rock salt, is thrown on her beam ends.
The falling of chimnies has caused several houses to be unroofed; Mr Bodkin’s family, in Bridge Street, were providentially saved, as the next chimney fell on the roof, which was blown in, destroyed the different rooms, and though a child slept in the attic story, and went through the two under floors, it was unhurt. Several trees have been torn up, garden walls blown down, and the whole of the parapet, from the House of Industry to the Revenue Building overturned. A new house in Glentworth Street was completely levelled with the ground. Thomond-bridge miraculously withstood the flood; the whole bridge was covered at one time, and the parapet presented the appearance of a wall built across the river.
We really fear that the accounts from the coast will be dreadful. Yesterday morning, between eight and nine o’clock, two sail boats were lost between Foynes Island and Ahanish, one was loaded with butter, and had nine passengers, all of whom were drowned; the other a turf-boat, the property of Mr O’Keefe, with three men on board, one of whom (Hurley) perished, and the other two were driven on shore by the violence of the waves, and were saved.
On Tuesday evening a large boat belonging to Denis Malcahy of this town, was driven on the rocks, off the shore of Kilkeran battery, the tide at the same time setting in with such rapidity that the boat filled with water, and one of the crew threw himself overboard and swam ashore, leaving two men and a boy on the wreck; when in this awful moment, one of the workmen belonging to Messrs Mackey and Ryan, plunged into the water and swam to the boat — made a raft of her oars and spars, to which he fastened a rope, and swam off to the length of it — the remaining crew clung round the raft, and in the presence of a number off shore, were towed in, and thus saved from a watery grave. Thomas Gleeson, a mason, was the person who so humanely ventured his life to save that of others, which Providence enabled him to effect.
Caledonian Mercury 24 December 1814. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.
Boogie on over to the WI website for a copy of the WI draft heritage plan, and send WI your comments by 6 November 2015.
WI staff have put a lot of work into this and consulted various people, including me. I argued for a more activist approach, with more history and less about communities, and I would have let the twitchers and other nature-lovers look after themselves and their little feathered friends …
… but I quite appreciate that Waterways Ireland has to be polite to all these people and can’t disobey the law, no matter how insane the legislation is.
But I digress. Get some comments in, preferably plugging industrial and transport heritage and economic history.
Riverfest is an annual, er, happening in Limerick. I don’t know much about it: I’ve never been because I dislike both crowds and festivals and it would take something remarkably interesting to outweigh my dislike and persuade me to attend any part of the thing. I took notice of this year’s event only because I wanted to find out what streets would be closed to traffic; the festival organisers did not, alas, think to provide a map showing the closures.
I have only two other comments on the event:
But I acknowledge that I am not really entitled to comment; Brian Leddin, on the other hand, has a better informed view.